Singer/songwriter (and author) Paul Roland's Re-Animator CD is an interesting and quirky collection of songs that recall 60s garage rock, early 70s British electric folk and touches of symphonic rock. Handsomely packaged in a digipak and adorned with sundry images of gothic horror, Re-Animator is a concept album inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe.
Opening track "Charles Dexter Ward", the titular hero of one of Lovecraft's short stories features a great vocal melody and resembles a sinister lullaby. The title cut is a catchy psychedelic rocker that might have been written by The Electric Prunes on hallucinogens after watching The Munsters. The weird and moody "Chain Gang" is notable for featuring a Farfisa organ, further giving the album a retro late 60s vibe.
It should be mentioned that Geoffrey Richardson and Jim Leverton from Caravan are featured on several tracks and Richardson's violin is all over the lovely "Taliesin". One of the most memorable tunes is the vampy "Swamp Girl" with its infectious hook and hilarious tongue in cheek lyrics. Symphonic rock fans should note that there's copious mellotron, particularly during the second half of the CD on tracks like "Assassin" and creepy closer "Cthullu".
As a vocalist, Roland takes some getting used to. He doesn't have a great deal of range and at times his delivery is a little flat. But as a songsmith, Roland is terrific and his painstaking arrangements are simultaneously retrogressive and cutting edge. As haunting and melancholy as a Peter Hammill album but as fun as a Roger Corman flick, Re-Animator might just be perfect fare for scaring away the trick-or-treaters at Halloween.
- Charles Dexter Ward
- Chain Gang
- Swamp Girl
- Abdul Alhazred